Somewhere, there's an 89-year-old American Legion member who couldn't carry a tune with an armored personnel carrier who nonetheless could've sung a more endearing Star Spangled Banner than pop singer Christina Aguilera did before the Super Bowl Sunday night.
Aguilera completely butchered the song -- repeating one line and dropping another all together, while doing her best to jazz it up and call attention to herself.
Well, she sure did that ! So much so that she felt compelled to issue a statement afterward indicating she "got so lost in the moment of the song that I lost my place."
More likely, she got lost in her own self-aggrandizement. When did pop singers decide that showing off is more important than honoring a song -- or, in this case, the country?
There's a word -- other than "narcissism" -- for the way singers today jump around the musical scale on each syllable just to blow their own horns: "melisma."
"Music of ancient cultures used melismatic techniques to induce a hypnotic trance in the listener, useful for early mystical initiation rites ... and religious worship," says website Wikipedia.
Well, in Western music, melisma is just a device to say, "Hey, don't pay any attention to the song -- just look at what I can do!" A word of caution: If you're going to take your vocal talents out for a spin, at least know how to drive; i.e., commit the song to memory.
"In recent years," adds Wikipedia, "there has been increased criticism of melisma being abused by singers, in part due to the popularity of shows such as American Idol and the trend of contestants imitating the artists who popularized the technique."
We think the National Football League should get that American Legion member in the future. We don't care if he can sing. But we're pretty certain he won't try to make the national anthem about his singing anyway.